Amgen earnings jump amid Onyx buyout, Asia deal

With the ink on its $10.4 billion deal for Onyx Pharmaceuticals ($ONXX) not yet dry, it might have been expected to be the only thing Amgen ($AMGN) would key on in its third-quarter earnings today. But the U.S. biotech had that and much more.

There were the usual sales and profit numbers, which were certainly impressive. Sales were up 10% to $4.75 billion and net income up 24% to $1.37 billion. The company bumped up its earnings projection as it looks forward to continued growth.

There was, of course the buyout of Onyx, which nabbed it the multiple myeloma drug Kyprolis, a product that analysts say could hit $2 billion to $2.4 billion in peak sales. On top of that it started up two joint ventures to establish itself more deeply in Asia. It kicked off its JV in Japan with Astellas Pharma this month to jointly develop 5 medicines in Amgen's pipeline. They are shooting to have their first commercial launch as soon as 2016. The plan is for Amgen to take full control of the operation by 2020. In China, Amgen is working with Betta Pharma to commercialize its colorectal cancer drug Vectibix (panitumumab).  

Earlier in the day, the Thousand Oaks, CA-based company said it was buying the rights in 100 mostly emerging markets to its white blood cell-boosting therapeutics Neupogen and Neulasta from Roche for an undisclosed sum. Roche ($RHHBY) has had the rights to the products in Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia, the Middle East and Africa since 1989. The franchise generated approximately $200 million in sales in these markets last year, Amgen said. The transfer is effective Jan. 1, 2014, and Amgen said this will boost its efforts in emerging growth markets. Amgen actually pointed to higher sales of the drugs as one reason that its earnings looked so good in the quarter. Combined sales were $1.6 billion, up 18%, helped by a $155 million order from the U.S. government, the company reported.

The company sees good things happening from all of this and bumped up its earnings forecast for the year to $7.35 to $7.45 share. Bloomberg said analysts had forecast earnings of $7.36 a share, on average.

- here's the earnings report
- here's the Bloomberg story
- here's the Neupogen announcement